According to data from Stony Brook University, the average periodontist salary in the United States is about $270,000 per year. But most people in this profession earn between $97,000 and $241,000 per year. The salary for periodontists differ depending on many factors. Factors such as place of work, geographical location of work, years of experience, type of establishment and skill levels are all contributing factors that will determine a periodontist’s salary.
Those who own their own private practices can expect an average annual salary of about $306,000. Those working in academic and research fields report an annual salary ranging from $100,000 to $190,000 per year. $111,000 to $212,000 was the salary reported by those employed in the field of dental prosthetics. Those working in hospitals and outpatient settings reported salaries between $102,000 and $197,000 per year. And those working in private clinics often earned between $105,000 and $215,000 per year.
Job description of a periodontist
What does a periodontist do? They are specialist dentists that specialize in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the supporting structures of the teeth such as the gum, jaws and connective tissues. Although periodontists are primarily concerned with the dental health of their patients, they often carry out cosmetic procedures to enhance the smile of their clients. These procedures are often surgical procedures to reduce the amount of tissue surrounding the teeth (for those who have too much gum when they smile). They may also replace badly shaped teeth with artificial ones.
They carry out tasks such as scaling, root planning removal of damaged tissue from the root surface. They also carry out dental placement procedures. Periodontists carry out more complex procedures than general dentists and require additional 3 years of training after medical school.
How to become a periodontist
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All periodontists must attend an accredited dental school. They are then required to undertake a 3 years post graduate program in periodontics. They then need to get licensed in order to practice.
Majority of dental schools require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to get admitted. There are a few that might not need this requirement. Dental schools also require students to take college level classes in science subjects such as chemistry, biology, anatomy and physics. No specific major is required but majoring in science related fields such as chemistry and biology might improve your chances of getting accepted.
Admission into dental school is very competitive. You should write and obtain good scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) before applying. Your application should include strong grades from your bachelor’s degree program, letters of recommendation and good DAT scores.
You will spend 4 years in dental school where the first two years will be spent taking classroom and laboratory studies in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, anesthesia, radiology and periodontology. You will spend the last two years of dental school mostly in clinical settings where you will work directly on patients under the supervision of dentists.
To become a periodontist, you will be required to do an additional 3 years in residency after graduating dental school. This is where you are trained to specialize in periodontics. You will spend all your time working under supervision in clinics performing periodontics tasks.
The next step is licensure and certification. All states require dentists to be licensed before they can practice. This usually involves passing a written and practical examination. In some states, if you pass a national board exam, you might forfeit the state exams. You may also want to become board certified. This involves passing written, oral and practical exams administered by the American Board of Periodontology.
Verdict on periodontist salary
A periodontist salary is right up there with some of the highest in the health professions. It is however important to note that, although those practicing in urban areas might earn much more than their counterparts in suburban or rural areas, the cost of living in these areas is very high. As such a periodontist salary in an urban area might not have the same reaching power as that of someone working in a rural area.